A band created by Christopher Tait and Jesse Smith (Patti Smith’s daughter) can’t be a usual band. Influenced by Fleetwood Mac or Scott Joplin, Belle Ghoul plays an elegant music. Last November, his new album was published, Rabbit’s Moon & Doomsday. Mito | Revista Cultural talked to them.
Revista Mito: Where did the band name, Belle Ghoul, come from?
Belle Ghoul: The name Belle Ghoul actually came from Jesse and I creating the group together. It’s a reference to Beauty & the Beast.
B.G.: This project has been interesting and ever-changing since it’s inception. The dynamic differs largely dependent upon who is in the studio.
R.M.: I know this is not an easy question, but if you had to choose one of the album’s songs, which would you choose?
B.G.: But they’re all so good! If you mean choosing which song is the best, I’m certain that everyone has their own opinion. One of my favorites is Mystery To Me, because that is nearly the most personal song I have ever written.
R.M.: Who write the songs and who compose the music? Or it is all a team work?
B.G.: I (Christopher) write the initial songs, but everyone contributes. Jesse helped construct No Time For Cryin (another one of my favorites), and Matt (Van) co-wrote a song we just finished. Zach (Shipps) is our own personal Phil Spector.
R.M.: What drives a beginning band to the right direction? Have been difficult try to make a living on the music business?
B.G.: The music business is treacherous! We have ups and downs, and when we play live we realize the potential we’d have if we toured regularly. But we are all busy elsewhere, so we play when the opportunity presents itself.
R.M.: Which are your music inspirations?
B.G.: The band was founded on a mutual love of ragtime. Not to say that’s what the end result is derived from, but Jesse and I are both pianists. Just before this group began, I was in rehab during a very difficult time in my life. Jesse and I wrote back and forth about starting a group based on a love of americana and shared musical favorites. Belle Ghoul has taken that to another level, and I’m very grateful for that.
R.M.: In your opinion, which is the kind of music that defines Belle Ghoul?
B.G.: A recent interview of Rabbit’s Moon & Doomsday described us as somewhere between Post-Punk and 60s Pop. I think that wraps it up.
R.M.: How do you see the band in 2/3 years?
B.G.: Onwards and upwards, hopefully! Lots of new material on the way.
R.M.: Are you working on a new project?
B.G.: Always working on new projects. Matt is in two other groups, Jesse has new projects every month in New York, and I’ve been collaborating on a video game project called Laser Destroyer Team. We were nominated for a Canadian Video Game Award last year.
R.M.: Which albums were you listening the most in the past year?
B.G.: Me personally? Brill Builders by New Pornographers and Sundown by Gordon Lightfoot.
R.M.: Could it be a possibility to risk and change the band musical genre in the future like other bands have been doing?
B.G.: I think that when bands do that, they need to be self-aware enough to realize what drew people to them in the first place. I can’t say that Weekend is my favorite song off our newest record, but it was clear that song would draw people in that were excited about our previous singles. Change is great, but I’ve never been struck by the notion that change needed to be forced in the name of progress. It alienates people.
R.M.: Which is your relationship with the internet? Do you think that the new technologies are changing positively the way that we consume music? Or do you think that these technologies are fomenting piracy and impacting negatively on the bands?
B.G.: The internet is an exciting tool, yes! We never would have been fortunate enough to work with the people at Elefant without the internet. My scattered mind would never have had the patience to actually mail songs out to labels. What a world!
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